Sunday, December 14, 2008

You gotta believe

Well, I made a fearless prediction early in the week that Dallas would win. And that was before the reports of the supposed turmoil between Romo, Witten, and T.O. But they and the rest of the team stared that all down and the Giants for a hard fought 20-8 victory. The defense sacked Eli Manning EIGHT times tonight and DeMarcus Ware now has the league lead in sacks with 19. He picked up three more tonight as the defense continues to get better by the game. Romo took a shot early in the game when the team was on the march. He then suffered back to back sacks that pushed the Cowboys out of field goal range early in the second quarter. And there e was speculation about him returning on the next series when it turned out to be a contusion in the lower back area on the first of the two sacks. But then he took the club on the next series right down the field and fired a 34 yard TD to Patrick Crayton. It was 7-3 Dallas at the half and it stayed that way, a defensive battle until late in the third when Romo found FB Deon Anderson in the end zone with a one yard TD to push it to 14-3. The defense was the story though as they shut down the Giants, and Newman shadowed Dominick Hixon, Plaxico Burress' replacement everywhere. The Giants were also without big bad bruisin Brandon Jacobs but I'd say that Dallas countered that handicap with a significantly less than 100% Marion Barber. Barber did pick up a key first down on the closing drive. The Giants got a safety when the defense sacked Romo in the end zone(the only real time NY got into the end zone all night) on a play that the Cowboy offensive line looked as though they thought that the play was blown dead. Jason Tuck came in unimpeded and Romo actually fumbled and smartly pushed the ball out of the end zone so that it wouldn't be a TD, which is ALL the Cowboys would have needed at that point. After the free kick New York took the ball down and got a 45 yard field goal from 44 year old John Carney with about 5 minutes to go. At 14-8 and the clock winding down the Cowboys marched 66 yards on 7 plays, with key first downs from Choice, Barber, and Witten. Then Choice ran 38 yards for the capper to make it 20-8. The Cowboys 2pt conversion attempt to Roy Williams was incomplete but then the Giants were out of timeouts and Terrence Newman intercepted his second pass of the night to officially close it out. Newman also had a pick early in the third period. All in all, it wasn't pretty. The Giants all of a sudden look out of sync on offense but let's give credit where credit is due. New York has won the NFC East Title and if there is a rubber match between the two in the playoffs , it will be in the Meadowlands. But Dallas proved that they can still beat this team and do some great things. Baltimore comes to Dallas next Saturday night for the final regular season game at Texas Stadium. And unless the Cowboys, as the fifth seed, host the NFC's sixth seed in the NFC Championship game, this next Saturday will be the last Cowboys game period at Texas Stadium. If the regular season ended today after 14 games(in other words if this were 1977, the year before the NFL regular season expanded from 14 to 16 games) Dallas would have the fifth seed and Atlanta would be sixth. The Falcons knocked off Tampa Bay today in overtime and the Bucs would not be in the playoffs if the regular season ended today. Why? Because the Cowboys, Falcons and Bucs are now all 9-5 and the Cowboys have a conference edge over Atlanta and beat the Bucs head to head earlier this year. And somehow, the Falcons are ahead of the Bucs on some tiebreaker as well. Baltimore will be tough but I like our chances if we don't turn it over, something we did NOT do tonight. Hooray!!! Winning cures most if not all. And we can be over the dissappointment of last week for now anyways. It was Baltimore's turn to come from ahead and lose to Pittsburgh. The Steelers wrapped up their AFC North division today as a result of a 13-9 win in Baltimore. The Ravens, 9-5, are fighting for a playoff berth so this game Saturday night in BIG D will be huge for both teams. I'll take Dallas at home, especially if we don't turn it over. I think the defense will overwhelm the Ravens offense. In the last seven games since the Ram Debacle on Oct 19(the day before my son Jonah was born) the Cowboys are 5-2 with the defense giving up 14 a game and that INCLUDES the 35-14 loss to the Giants in the last game before Romo and Newman came back. Tonight they kept the Giants out of the end zone. Impressive. Let's get Barber back closer to 100% on offense and the defense continue to play well. And let's put the December hex to bed.

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